Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Big Picture: "Tropes vs. MovieBob

A thing about things.


Eventua said...

I, I just... what? o_O;

James, how the heck does that *relate to anything at all*?!

Seriously, your obsession is... worrying. Harassment, even.

ACTUALLY OT: very good video, personally I agree with her, and I like that so many people have rallied behind Anita's project. I look forward to it.

Also, first time commentator, great video as usual Bob! Just wanted to let you know I've been a silent, regular viewer! :D

Hammbone said...

@james. oh look off topic stalker, harrasment post that is going to be deleted shortly. oh james you never change do you /)^3^(\

but anyway.

@topic: this topic makes me sad on a multitude of levels. living in the american southeast ive seen horrible things... but what is worse is that i didnt see it until i had left and joined the military and saw the world... it is sad that we must fight for such basic thing in a age of instaglobal communication...

The Dude said...

I asked this question somewhere else and didn't really get any answers

1) I assume we can agree that if a woman decides she wants to dress in a way that shows off her sexual characteristic (i.e. like any female game character) we shouldn't tell her that she can't do that or that it's wrong to do so because we would forcing our values onto her.

2) We can also assume than when a game studio (which more often than not is composed mostly of men) create a character like this, it can sometimes be viewed as a cynical attempt to appeal to it's target audience (males) while still pretending to be "progressive" by showing a character comfortable in her own sexuality.

Here's the question: If said game was EXACTLY the same, only it was made be a studio composed entirely of WOMEN (maybe not entirely composed but the point is, women are making all the major decisions) would your opinion of the game change? If your opinion did change, would that be considered a double standard? If it is a double standard, would it necessarily be a bad thing?

DISCLAIMER: I'm not saying I have anything against these kind of characters (Lollipop Chainsaw is AWESOME!)

Aiddon said...

BTW, Lollipop Chainsaw is batshit wacko. And that makes it AWESOME. Hopefully Suda gets around to making NMH 3 after the Wii U is released

Bolongo said...

@ The Dude

1) Can only be agreed on with some qualifications.

2) Sure, I guess that happens.

As for the question, who made the game is irrelevant. A company who is taking the route in point 2 is doing so because they think it will generate sales. The motives are economic. I guess you're trying to imply that your all-women studio would actually be operating under some motive connected to point 1, but the games industry doesn't work that way.

Shark said...

No shit Sherlock, gamers already know about the sexism in video games. We want people who will propose long term solutions to this problem, not stand in front of the camera and confirm things we already know.

You and Anita didn't contribute anything to this discussion. The both of you forced your political opinions onto the viewer without giving them a chance to think for themselves. The both of you can't even acknowledge the fact that the opposition may have a valid point that counters your sensationalist argument. In short, you and Anita have proven yourselves to be very biased, and therefore unworthy of talking about sexism in video games. If you and Anita want to be taken seriously, then the both of you have to pull your heads out of your asses, start doing research, listen to the opinions of people who don't agree with and, most importantly, get off the soapbox!

Anonymous said...

It's always fun when these issues get brought up because there are so many ways to look at the problem, and yes it is a problem of arguable severity, that a lot of viewpoints can be explored.

There are of course a hundred reasons why a video game developer will make women unrealistically attractive, as well as men. In all honesty, that isn't actually a problem. (ok every woman looking like Ivy or Mai IS a problem but not the root of it) The real problem is the continuing 'no girls allowed' attitude in games that prevent more female characters from coming out. The fact that Heavenly Sword, Bayonetta and Lolipop Chainsaw were able to have a selling point of 'hey check it out, you play as a woman' can basically be used as short hand proof that the industry simply doesn't put enough females into games at all, regardless of how unearthly beautiful they are.

I'm almost positive that when developers finally break out of this false maturity they attempt to cram into every game, we'll see more women characters. When we start seeing more women characters, we'll see a better and broader representation of women. However I'm dreading the backlash at 'feminists' that will largely come from entitled males under 30 who have never had to deal with a 'women's rights issue' aside from having to see a news story about something that happened in another state.

Tkscz said...

My problem with her doing this project isn't the project itself. I like the idea that someone is finally touching up on this fact about women in video games, and that maybe developers will listen (though doubtful). No see, my problem with her doing this project, is HER.

If you were to watch Anita Sarkeesian's videos (and I've seen about all of them), you may notice that she isn't very good at making a completely convincing argument, often times trying to pick out things that aren't or wasn't meant to be sexist and making them sound that way, picking out the worst of something and skipping parts of whatever she's analyzing and leaving out parts of it that would debunk her theories, or being sexist herself.

Her worst video is the Christmas songs one, where she is doing all 3 of those at once, plus contradicting herself. Her number one worst Christmas Song was "Baby it's cold outside". She picks out the parts of the song that makes the man sound like a date rapist, and repeats that he won't let the woman leave, when, in fact, in the song, the woman left the man's house, only to say it's cold outside and comes back in on her own. Not to mention she makes it seem like trying to date rape a woman, is just part of being a man and really makes it sound like women simply don't do this.

A good chunk of her videos are like this, and I have nothing personal against her, I just don't think she'd be very good at making a video like this.

Dave said...

Listen, I'm not one of those "masculinity in jeopardy" dipshits, but... Anita is actually kind of sexist. I agree with her in the broad strokes (female characters are too often "props" for male characters, feminism as an idea is misrepresented frequently in the media, etc.), but so far she's been completely unable to promote or defend her ideas without also having to underhandedly insult men in just about every one of her videos. Not only is she anti-male, she's ignorant, as demonstrated in her Sucker Punch critique (hey, genius! Just because something is explicitly about sexism doesn't mean it's sexist!), and her inability to see beyond the tip of her own nose really gets to me.

So, I do support this Tropes vs. Women in Video Games thing, because that perspective isn't really espoused enough, but I expect it to be full of shortsightedness, minimal research, cheap potshots, and general unwarranted smugness.

Linkara is a far fairer and more interesting Internet feminist than Anita.

Taylor said...

@Shark: Oh, such a delightfully dumb post, so much to work with.

1. The idea that people shouldn't bring up a problem because people already knows it exists is just ridiculous. If everyone knows about a problem and yet it continues, clearly we need to keep bringing it up until stuff is done.

"You and Anita didn't contribute anything to this discussion. The both of you forced your political opinions onto the viewer without giving them a chance to think for themselves."
2. How exactly did they deprive them of the chance to think for themselves? Did these videos emit some sort of mind control ray I'm not aware of?

"We want people who will propose long term solutions to this problem, not stand in front of the camera and confirm things we already know."
He's suggested several. In this video, he offered the idea that there should be more variety in female appearance (as there is with male appearance) so that not ALL of them are fanservice characters.

"The both of you can't even acknowledge the fact that the opposition may have a valid point that counters your sensationalist argument."
4. He did acknowledge the opposition's point (Which is to say the theoretical opposition, since the actual opposition here were people calling Anita by hateful slurs and threatening rape), that there are male body image stereotypes as well as female ones. He then argued why he thought that point was invalid. There is no requirement, in an argument, to agree to any of the other sides points if you don't think they're correct. (While we're at it, which of Bob's points have YOU recognized as potentially valid so far?)

"In short, you and Anita have proven yourselves to be very biased, and therefore unworthy of talking about sexism in video games"
5. This has become a common crutch on the internet, the bias fallacy. Putting aside for a fact that your claim of bias isn't really backed up by anything, the fact that someone is biased does not invalidate any of their opinions. Everyone has biases, some stronger than others. Even if you were the most biased man on Earth, however, if you make a point, back it up with evidence, and argue it it may still be correct. Anyone who wants to argue against it must address it, address the evidence given, and argue the point itself. Simply calling someone biased does not actually argue a point, and is generally just a fallback for people with nothing real to say.

"If you and Anita want to be taken seriously, then the both of you have to pull your heads out of your asses, start doing research, listen to the opinions of people who don't agree with and, most importantly, get off the soapbox!"
6. And here we see the crux of your argument, and why you really aren't worth taking seriously. If you cut out all the insults, cliches, and other non-arguments, there's nothing left here. You're basically saying "You guys can't be right because you don't think I may be right". That logic makes sense. If I declare that gravity is caused by aliens, scientists don't HAVE to address the possibility of me being right to be taken seriously.

If you, however, want to be taken seriously, actually address what was saying. All you've really done is fuel the stereotype of the male gamer with the tortured machismo lashing out horribly at the mere SUGGESTION that they might have the slightest problem with women.

Phil said...

I've always found "Baby, It's Cold Outside" to be creepy way before I saw Anita's video.

How can "date rape" not enter anyone's mind with a line in the song from the female that goes, "Say, what's in this drink?" and the man ignores the question and continues to pester her to not leave?

I find it interesting that a lot of men are threatened by Anita's videos since it reminds me of a lot of the bad defenses and ignorant comments made by whites against credible arguments of how racism still exists and does very much so in the media (e.g. "There's no more racism cause we have a black president!").

Anonymous said...

My little insight is that fear of the feminist movment is actually kinda a bit like the political lefts fear of the right: some REALLY extreme viewpoints get thrown around by the fringe of that group. You know what i mean. For every feminist who simply want wages to be equal, there is a crazy nutjob screaming in the town square that all men are evil, and that if women were allowed to rule the world, there would be no war or suffering. Yeah, cos women totally NEVER fight or take violent action, and certainly would NEVER feel paranoia setting in as they get put in charge of a whole country and its citizens.

Long story short, we gamers and geeks have alot of work to do. In the meantime, to help our more stubborn members along, maybe feminsts could do a little PR campaign making sure the average scared 30 something white male knows that true feminism never was, nor will be, about hating men.

Anonymous said...

Still avoiding eye contact with the massive Japanese elephant in the room I see.

Tkscz said...

Not my point. My point is she skipped a very important part, and was sexist as well. Now yes, the guy is being a creep, but the fact that she just so happens to leave out the part where the woman does leave the house and comes back in by her own accord, makes her argument that it's sexist weaker. It makes her seem like she picks and chooses what she wants her audience to hear, so that they agree with her. Only a truly weak writer would do that. Not to mention how she makes it seem like it's a normality for men, and that women are the only victims, like a woman has never done the same to a man. When speaking, you have to state everything, you can't be selective, or you'll through your audience off.

Another example is her straw feminist look at the PowerPuff Girls. Yes, Fem-Fatal IS a straw feminist, but why not bring up the fact that in the end, the PPGs learn what REAL feminist are like, and learn that Fem-Fatal really is a straw feminist? That would've helped her speech, given the audience an idea that not all writers are bad, and she's not just slinging dirt at guys. But she doesn't do that, instead, she goes on about how the writers of the show know nothing about feminist, when the show ends by showing that they not only know what feminist are like, but their history as well. Making more obvious that the straw feminist thing was in satire, not to say that this is what feminist are like.

I am not getting defensive over her beliefs. I just don't think she's a very good writer, I'm not judging her, but her ability to make a coherent speech. I hope she uses all that money to hire a writer, otherwise, I have little hope I'll like what she writes.

Anon1 said...

Ah. Clearly a clever comment about something that he said over twitter posted on a blog post that has nothing to do with the subject. One could assume that James can't tweet Bob back because he has been blocked numerous times for being an asshole. Or he doesn't realize the stupidity of posted something on a blog over about something on twitter. Makes just as much sense sending a post card to respond to a facebook post. I guess we will have to assume both.
Also sidenote from the previous post I made in a different blog post responding to your posts. Why haven't you responded to the fact that you are clearly an Anti-Semite? Respond to my ridiculous posts coward!

Phil said...

Actually, the fact that the female in "Baby, It's Cold Outside" goes outside and comes back only serves to validate everything the man was saying. The fact that the song was written by a man in an era where (white) men were "men" and women were "women" and men knew better than women backs up the fact that the song has a sexist mentality to it.

I'm not familiar with the PowerPuff Girls episode of hers but I've seen a good amount of her videos and think that they are generally well made. A good point of comparison is hers and Movie Bob's videos on the Bayonetta video game. If I remember correctly, Bob gushed about the game while Anita spoke out against it bringing up the very valid point in regards of the big problem in Japan of men grouping women in the subways. This was especially alarming because the marketing of the video game was placed in Japanese subways encouraging people walking by to essentially strip Bayonetta down. Now I am not arguing that this is "video games make people do bad things" but considering the big problem that exists in Japan of women being groped (so much so that Japanese subways have made "women only" sections) having an ad like that is quite tasteless and shows a complete disregard for women.

The biggest criticism I have is the way she manages her youtube channel. Comments can only appear if they are approved by her and what's strange is that I have made comments in her videos but not one has ever been accepted. None of my comments were disrespectful and in fact I was agreeing with her and wanted to add information to the topic but for whatever reason it was not accepted. Yet, a comment like "Your video was great" will appear and may even get a response from her.

Tkscz said...

Then I wouldn't argue with it, IF THAT'S WHAT SHE HAD BROUGHT UP. She didn't, and only proves my point that including these things can help the audience understand the argument better. I would've completely agreed with her, if that's what she said, instead of making herself sound sexist.

Also, I try not to think of Bayonetta, her legs literally creep me out. I kid you not, her legs frighten me. I refuse to even look at her because of it. Because of this, I watched neither one of their episodes about Bayonetta. But the PPG one brings up the fact that she points out south park and Family Guy, shows based on making fun of everything and anything, AND SHOULD NEVER BE TAKEN SERIOUSLY! Comedy is a huge passion for me, and anyone who uses Comedy, so I know to NEVER take satire seriously. In fact, I learned again and again, that when it comes to Comedy, today's satire should never be used to make any kind of point (regardless of satire being originally used to make a point). Today's satire's whole purpose is to just poke fun at something for a good laugh. Sure, a lesson can come out of it, but it doesn't have to. In fact, I think bob has been over how South Park's Satire should never be taken seriously. For me that takes points away.

Shark said...

You don't know anything about me. You're just making wild assumptions based on my comments, and you're missing the point.

1. As I said before, we shouldn't bring up a topic that people already knows exist,and is a problem. It's repetitive and doesn't solve anything. We need more people to come up with practical solutions to these problems.

2. Feminist Frequency has a history of preemptively blocking people who disagree with it. The web show also contradicts itself, most notably in the "Straw Feminist" video where Anita misses the entire point of the Powerpuff Girl episode "Equal Fights".

Moviebob, on the other hand can be a hypocrite sometimes. For example, he dismissed the retake Mass Effect 3 campaign as a bunch of fans with entitlement complex, yet he acted like an entitled fanboy when Micheal Bay touches his beloved Transformers or TMNT.

3. A variety in female appearance won't solve anything. It won't change the gamers opinion of how women are portrayed in video games.
If you want to make an impact on this issue, then you must punish the player who harasses female games online, or in gaming tournaments.

4. Moviebob didn't acknowledge the opposition's point. He just made a bunch of strawman arguments disguised as criticisms against Feminist Frequency and the talk about sexism in video games.

6. Moviebob and Anita need a wake up call. Both of them have the potential to make good videos, but their pride and egos prevent them from unlocking their full potential. Look, I'm just being brutally honest. I'm critiquing them because I want to see those grow as filmmakers, not shrink into
ultra liberal straw men.

As for sexism in video games, we need to ask a different question: What genre of video games needs more female characters?

Anonymous said...

In all my time reading feminist narrative theory, I don't think it's unfair to say a depressingly large chunk of the feminist culture want stories with no conflict, crisis, or character depth. I seriously wonder how many of them so much as even glanced at a Writing 101 course description. They declare every virtue as pandering to the male audience and every flaw as a horrible degradation of the whole sex. You're not allowed to have male antagonists because any ill-action against women is implying weakness in the whole sex, but you can't have female antagonists because you're demonizing the whole sex (even if it's women against women). It's just headache-inducing how they read hatred and oppression into even the most humble, mundane fiction that merely tells genuine human stories.

I'm not saying there aren't a fuckload of harmful stereotypes casually thrown at impressionable viewers because oh, boy, are there ever. It's a serious problem and I'm happy to see people aware of it, but focusing exclusively on what's wrong without also talking about the underlying problem of lazy, shitty writing in general doesn't help their argument. Instead, it comes across as calling for a shift from one homogenization towards another, but their standard is so unrelentingly vague, contradictory, and impossible that you may as well stop making fiction altogether.

The way Anita presents herself, she seems firmly rooted in the "impossible to please" category of analysis. Can't we instead have a series that focuses on the (admittedly rare) positive portrayals with occasional negative examples for contrast instead of vice versa? Do we really need to be told yet again that Dead or Alive is pandering garbage? There's a serious shortage of actually-constructive criticism here.

Phil said...

I went back and watched the video on Christmas songs and I can't see how her video fails to make any valid points about the song. In fact, it syncs up with what I wrote here. I don't see anywhere in the vid where she is sexist either. Where is she sexist in that video?

Your response to my Bayonetta comment is not relevant. The point was that you claimed she isn't good at this so I brought up an example of where I found that she made a valid point that was well-researched.

In regards to the PowerPuff Girls comment, I saw the video named "The Straw Feminist" and thought she made excellent points. It is true that when a feminist character appears in movies and TV shows it is usually an over the top kind that is so ridiculous that it isn't based on anything real world. The fact that this appears so frequently isn't satire and can be easily seen as an attack on feminism since one rarely sees anything approaching a balance in depiction.

In regards to satire, just because satire is being used does not mean it is above being criticized. Satire is an expression of disagreement with something in the way of irony. It is not a card to say whatever the hell one wants and not face consequences.

And I don't remember Bob's point about South Park being that it shouldn't be taken seriously. I remember it being about people who use an episode of South Park as the entire basis of an argument or a position and how misguided that is.

Taylor said...

@Shark: See, THAT is a good point. You elucidated your point. You provided backup with evidence. You connected said evidence to your position in logical progression. Next time, start with that.

For the record, I agree with you.

Megabyte said...

Bob... while I can agree easily enough about your reference of a job being lost based on the shape of a woman's body being a problem, I have a few points to bring up on it...

1) What the HELL does that have to do with video games or media? If the guy who is going to do that did not have these things, he would still be selective in this nature. That is not the media's fault. That's the individual's.

and 2) On the grounds of one, this becomes VERY dangerous territory to tread lightly on... sexual discrimination is a sue-able offense, after all, and do we really want to be so shallow as to assume his reasons before we know them and open the door for any female who is 200lbs to sue whoever doesn't hire them for whatever reason? That may sound extreme, but the things people DO sue about already makes me wonder how extreme it really is in this "it's not my fault no matter what" culture we live in.

Cassie said...

Thank you, especially for the third point. I don't understand how some guys can think that characters like Marcus Fenix are the equivalent of Mai Shiranui. Marcus Fenix wasn't custom tailored for female sexual fantasies, and Mai wasn't made so female gamers could project ourselves onto her. The male and female characters in games are by-and-large made for the sake of male gamers, and that's exactly what the problem is.

TheWest said...


Yeah, but we already know that. Mai has been around since 1992, and simply saying she was created for male gamers is bringing absolutely nothing new to the table.

And on that note, can we stop using Mai in these type of arguments as if she is the only female character in the SNK fighting universe?


Shannon said...

One of the things that really baffles me about this whole thing is the anger Anita has gotten for the money people have donated. No joke, I saw a tweet from someone who said that Anita made them sick, because people were upset about not being able to donate anymore to the project. I'm still trying to wrap my head around that and I don't know if I ever will. I know people have issues with her even setting up a Kickstarer to begin with (which is so stupid, I'm not even going to go into it), but to be angry that people wanted to help her and gave her well beyond what she asked for? Makes no sense. No one complained when the Extra Credits team received an insane amount of donations (well beyond what they'd initially asked for, as well) when Allison was injured a year or so ago. They weren't called scumbags for it, yet Anita is? I don't get it.

Tkscz said...

It's starting to feel like we're just watching these so completely differently, but that is what an opinion is after all. I went back and watched not only the examples I used, but others, and my opinion still stands. Now, not all of her videos are bad, just the ones that tend to be longer, where I feel more detail is needed or more explanation is needed, but she seems to be rushing through.

For example, I think the fembot one was done well. Especially the commercial she showed at the end. She only stuck to the ones that were truly sexist, and aimed themselves at men solely to convince them to by this product, and ignore women altogether, and not stepping into futurama where the character Bender is supposed to be a sexist, over bearing asshole, who treats fembots like that, or Austin Powers, where the fem-bots are really dangerous weapons and were defeated silly. It's not aiming it's site at men to come watch, but just making a joke.

But the PPG thing still stands. In fact, she points out the things that happen to women everyday, and I must say that came out of nowhere. She points out how girls are bullied on the playground, ok I know that, but no girl was bullied in that episode. She pointed out how women are forced to clean the house. I agree that's wrong, but in the episode, Professor Utonium, was the one who cleaned the ENTIRE house. He just asked HIS CHILDREN to clean their room. So that point just came out of nowhere. The points you make should relate to the material you use.

The one on Twilight also bugs me. Here she esentially tells men, and I mean just men, how and why they should dislike Twilight. I know plenty of women who hate Twilight for those same reasons. Also, I commented that the reason I hate Twilight, is that it's full of plot holes, the characters aren't interesting, and are unrelataible, the main characters are Mary Sues etc, etc. Why not point any of this out? Why is it that she ignored the women with the opinion that they think the vampires simply suck? Again, I know more women with this opinion than men. I feel she could've detailed it more, and not sound sexist herself. Your writing should prove your point, not make it backfire.

Back to the christmas songs. All I want for Christmas was written by Maria Carey, I don't think she thought of it the way Anita did. In fact, the lyrics Anita point out, sounds more like Maria just wants to see her boyfriend for Christmas, and not she ABSOLUTELY NEEDS A MAN TO SURVIVE! The message there seems extremely forced. And ending it with something that Anita wants, something material, contradicts another song she looks at. Also, why if a man sings it, it sounds stalkerish? That doesn't make any sense. It can't be stalkerish for one sex, without it being that way for the other. It isn't for either. It's beginning to look a lot like Christmas has just two lines, lines that are, enforced more by parents then anything else, and that makes the WHOLE song sexist? I'm sorry, that's pushing it so you can make a list. That song is no more sexist than the mom who get's her comic book loving daughter a Barbie. Santa Baby h-uh? Sorry, who wanted an object from Buffy earlier?

There is more, but this is already long enough. I just feel that if she does a little more research, and just take the time to think about what she is going to say, then I wouldn't notice all this.

Joe said...


1. As I said before, we shouldn't bring up a topic that people already knows exist,and is a problem. It's repetitive and doesn't solve anything. We need more people to come up with practical solutions to these problems.

Your non-constructive criticism of the people trying to solve these problems are not helping to solve these problems. Anyone can bash from the sidelines. If you have something constructive to bring to the table, do so. Otherwise your opinion is worthless.

Feminist Frequency has a history of preemptively blocking people who disagree with it.

So what? Their space, their rules. They're hardly the only online space to keep out people who don't bring anything productive to the discussions they want to have. If you don't like it, don't go there.

Moviebob, on the other hand can be a hypocrite sometimes. For example, he dismissed the retake Mass Effect 3 campaign as a bunch of fans with entitlement complex, yet he acted like an entitled fanboy when Micheal Bay touches his beloved Transformers or TMNT.

That's because you, like a lot of people, don't understand where Bob was coming from. Bob was saying that consumers of art should not be able to hold the artistic process hostage. The creators present their work, and the consumers either like it or don't. They should not be after-the-fact editors of the work. I don't remember Bob ever saying that Transformers 2 should've been taken out of theatres and completely rewritten. But that's exactly what Retake Mass Effect was demanding.

A variety in female appearance won't solve anything. It won't change the gamers opinion of how women are portrayed in video games.

Yes it will. Because there are plenty of female gamers out there who will appreciate characters that either look more like them, or represent their image of female empowerment fantasies.

Moviebob didn't acknowledge the opposition's point.

Probably because they didn't have any good ones.

As for sexism in video games, we need to ask a different question: What genre of video games needs more female characters?

Most of them. For fuck's sake, Modern Warfare 2 had the capital of the United States attacked by a foreign invader, and not one female U.S. solider or National Guardsman was seen fighting to protect her country even though there are women in the U.S. military. Not even so much as a female medic helping her brothers-in-arms. It kind of goes against the realistic military shooter thing they claim to be going for.

Cassie said...


I'm not merely stating that she was made for male players for the sake of pointing it out: I'm saying it to highlight the fact that *the vast majority of female characters* are made for male players. Mai Shiranui is just an easily-graspable example of that larger phenomenon, especially because of her infamous boob-jiggling animation from KoF XIII (which only came out 2 years ago ffs).

The point is that the "dudes are unrealistic too!" argument is a red herring for the larger discussion about female representation in gaming because for the most part male characters are NOT designed the way they are for the sake of women.

TheWest said...


Sorry if I sound like I ramble in advance.

"the most part male characters are NOT designed the way they are for the sake of women."

That may be true, but if only applied to the western gaming culture. Not all games are created equal. I still find it rather absurd Mai is trotted out as being representative for all games for the sake of male gamers both east and west. Remember that when Mai made the leap to King of Fighters 94', her 'bounce' was censored in American arcade machines. What is acceptable (or profitable) in one place may not apply to the other.

Staying on the subject of SNK fighters, look at Ash Crimson.


Am I supposed to believe he was created for the sake of men? There may be a case that his design was created to attract Japanese women. It works for shows like Kamen Rider, which is essentially Power Rangers for kids but uses pretty young male actors to bring in the female viewership as well.

It is a complicated issue that also has to involve cultural differences. Trotting out Mai as the go to example is rather tiring if you don't take where she was created into account.

There really can be a deeper discussion on SNK characters by themselves and how they are seen/played/etc by both America and Japan (and even Latin America where the SNK community is huge), but this is just a comment section to a video that did not even broach the issue any deeper than simply saying "Guys find Mai hot."

I dunno. Most of the arguments so far have been from the western perspective of things. I'm not saying Japan is perfect (they have their own share of gender issues) but most people gloss over the fact that it was a woman who designed Bayonetta (Mari Shimazaki), or all female staffs like Clamp or the makers of Koei's Angelique series.


That isn't to say women in America are entirely absent from gaming development. Despite what many feel about Jennifer Hepler, she is a major contributor to Bioware, and Amy Hennig has written and directed many games (her most famous being Soul Reaver and Uncharted).

Yes they are working in a market (video gaming) where they are the minority. But that is the real issue I think. Sitting in front of a camera and saying Mai is a sexist character is redundant. We all know that. It would be better (and hopefully she does this) if she tells hopeful young women how to pursue a job in the game industry. Because that is how *real* change will occur I believe. It won't be easy obviously but you'll have more support when you do things like that rather than complain about the obvious.

Lord Slithor said...

Okay, I'm a little late to the party on this, and I didn't read many of the above comments. But I did just want to say I'm more than a little perplexed by the reaction to this project. I'm not at all familiar with Ms. Sarkeesian's previous body of work. I did however see the 4 minute promo video for the Kickstarter fundraiser, and I didn't have a problem with it at all. It's no secret that video games have had a lopsided view of gender presentations throughout their history. Why not take a closer look at it? Why would that engender so much outrage?

Is it because of the person doing it? Again, I've never seen Ms. Sarkeesian's body of work. In the video I saw, she struck me as someone who was intelligent and well-spoken. And she's said that her video have even been used and recommended by both teachers and parents. Is she biased? Well, I wouldn't be surprised, as all journalists and writers these days have a bias, including Bob himself. Does she have a Feminist agenda? Probably. But doesn't mean one should dismiss anything she says out of hand because of it. This isn't the same thing as, say, Jack Thompson reviewing the history of video games I would think. So why not have her take a look at this? I frankly don't see why anyone would get worked-up about this sort of thing, and Bob's video made a good point.

Although, frankly, I really would have liked to have seen him do his Jabberjaw retrospective!

Rob said...

Hey Bob, you're a big fella, I''m kinda large and in charge too, and that is the one of the things I disagree with you on here. Fat guys are most definitely discriminated against. It's not just women.

Anonymous said...

@ The Dude

I live in Mexico and the machismo is inherited also thank to women. Mothers act a certain way and expect their daughters to act the same way and their sons to act a different way promoting this machismo without even realizing it. So, if it's an all women business, it makes no difference.

Anonymous said...

With the amount of money she's gotten for this documentary, she probably could produce a moderately budgeted iPhone game with a sizable advertising campaign and actually make the character she wants to see instead of cherry-picking sexy fighting game and RPG characters, erasing the ones that don't fit her argument (in some SNK games that's upwards of TEN CHARACTERS), and decrying why game developers are so sexist.

But as she would soon find out, it is a lot harder to create than to criticize. And what would be the point if nobody noticed the 100% certified feminist non-sexist character? Especially when people like Anita who's supposed to be looking out for this sort of thing to highlight as progress. Her character will be erased with the next nescient feminist who's got the patriarchy's number and wants to tell the world she has it all figured out.

Anonymous said...

I think I can summarize exactly what bugs me about Anita: she comes across as pro-censorship. Look at her video about mystical pregnancy: she very definitely says that trope should never be used because it "generates fear about a natural function of women's bodies" (which implies there aren't a lot of normal pregnancies even within her conveniently narrow field of reference in speculative fiction).

Look, I understand the desire for better writing. That's really the crux of her argument... except she phrases it as "writers are actively oppressing women" and only looking for examples that validate it because you don't get 2648% over your requested funding by saying "we need writers that aren't lazy, pandering fucks". Still, more nuance and variety is a good thing. Arbitrarily calling for the total cessation of a trope and saying that everything which uses it is automatically damaging to society is not that far removed from the Hays/Comics Code and we all know just how great that was for artistic expression.

Zeno said...

I personally believe that power is an illusion and therefore nobody is oppressed.

However, if we are to accept that women are oppressed, then because of the Hegelian theorem that the slave enslaves the master men must be just as oppressed as women.

As an example, men are objectified in videogames where they are depicted as expendable cannon fodder. I would argue that that's far worse than female sexualization.

Anonymous said...

I hate how the reaction turned out on this. Because MY objections to the project, (videos point out minor nitpicks without any solutions, called the birth of Jesus a sexist trope of 'mystical pregnancy', censors comments of anybody male posting, even with praise, hasn't needed 6000 dollars for this stuff before, really doesn't need 150,000 dollars to make a ten part series of stuff I could learn on TV Tropes,) I end up just getting lumped in with the misogynists.

I don't hate the project because of what it talks about, I hate the project because the person herself is kind of shallow and pro-censorship. An honest discussion of tropes and their effects would be great, but Feminist Frequency isn't the person for it.

James said...

Two off-topic questions for you, Bob:

1.) Why are you such an arrogant, cynical, intellectually dishonest hypocrite?

2.) What will it take to get you to acknowledge that Obama is as bad as Romney?

Anonymous said...

Yeah, after looking at this woman's videos, I'd have to say the reason some people might object to her writing about video games is that her work isn't very good. She has a really black and white attitude towards stereotypes and comes across as a scold - now there's an antifeminist trope for you. Just about everything she complains about sometimes creates stories that work. She'd be more interesting coming up with new, good ideas...but instead just seems negative. I don't mind people supporting her work, but I won't be watching it.

Omorka said...

So, I certainly agree that the vast majority (probably not all; there is the occasional gratuitous beefcake or bishonen) of dudes in video games are intended to be player-insert characters, and their outstanding buffness is meant to be Gary-Stu-style self-insert wish-fulfillment on the part of the assumed-to-be-male player, while the vast majority (again, certainly not all) of gals in video games are meant to be eye-candy for the assumed-to-be-male player.

What would the reverse look like?

I'm serious about this - imagine for the moment that someone deliberately designs a video game with a female protagonist who is intended to be a wish-fulfillment self-insert for an assumed-to-be-female player, and the male characters are intended to be the eye candy. What does such a game look like? What do those characters look like?

So far, in contemplating this, my primary conclusions are that (a) There will probably be a greater diversity of body types represented in the male eye-candy characters than there usually are in the female eye-candy characters, because there's less agreement among women on what a hot guy looks like, and (b) The main female character will probably be fully clothed, but still stereotypically "hot," as appearance is sadly something most women will want in a wish-fulfillment self-insert. She may be more realistically proportioned, however, and probably won't be wearing heels.

Thorbs said...

Urgh, so much wrong with this, and with the comments here.

Okay, issues with body image and so on are an issue sure, but not THE problem with the representation of women in video games.

The problem is sexual objectification.

The women in these games are portrayed as only having worth by being sexy while kicking arse. Sure, they may be tough and capable, but that's not important... they need to be tough and capable while displaying their tits and wearing heels. 'Cos heaven forbid the most important thing about a female character wouldn't be her looks. This promotes some really shitty gender politics in our culture which makes us look bad. It also puts women off visiting gaming conventions 'cos they don't feel safe... all the men have been trained that women are there to be leered at. You want gaming to remain the sausage-fest it currently is, carry on this way!

How about we get past the adolescent phase of seeing women only as things to stick our dicks into, and start appreciating them as being people too? This is one of reasons gaming/geek culture is seen as being socially inept, and fixing it will only be of benefit to us. And sorry Mr "Nice Guy" who bemoans douche jocks getting all the girls... you're not the "Nice Guy" you think you are if your only reason for ever talking to a women is because you want to shag them.

The backlash just highlights the problem, with most of it directed towards her looks, or threatening rape/assault. Arguments saying we don't sexually objectify women are obviously sound when you then immediately sexually objectify the person you're arguing with by saying she should be raped, or is too ugly to rape etc.

Bleurgh. How about we make the gaming/geek community more pleasant and safe for 50% of the population and put this bullshit behind us?

JB DeVries said...

On the video: well said. Text without context is all just vigorous scratching at the page, etc.


"I personally believe that power is an illusion and therefore nobody is oppressed.

However, if we are to accept that women are oppressed, then because of the Hegelian theorem that the slave enslaves the master men must be just as oppressed as women.

As an example, men are objectified in videogames where they are depicted as expendable cannon fodder. I would argue that that's far worse than female sexualization."

Are you for real or are you trying to (badly) play a Zeno archetype here? That's the silliest reading of Hegel I've seen in some time.

Thorbs said...


Why should any of the characters (male or female) be eye-candy?

Are you playing the game for sexual gratification, or just for fun?

This has never been an issue of women wanting their share of eye-candy. It's an issue of societies views of women being totally fucked up, and of gamings views of women being more fucked up than the norm.

Anonymous said...

So what do you think about these "news worthy" stories of women being "too hot for work?" Pandering attempts to "level the discriminating field" or something else entirely?

Anonymous said...

Worthy or not, Anita's Kickstarter has opened an absolutely massive discussion about women in video games across the whole internet without her having spent a single cent. No matter what she actually produces, she has spurred at least some positive change. Just saying.

Anonymous said...

It has come to my attention that this woman spammed this video on 4chan.

So she not only invited the trolls to the party, she actively provoked them into doing so. Why?

So she could use them as strawmen for any disagreement or salient point somebody might raise. Disagree with her? "You're a sexist troll, and you're forcing me to shut down my comments because I'm being targeted!"

Anon1 said...

You are just pathetic.
Even the internet is essentially limitless, every letter you type is a waste of space and thought. And by waste of thought, I mean from other people having to deal with you cause clearly the actions you have shown and comments you made have to be from some of type of primitive being that has not yet cognitive reasoning or intelligent thought.

Anonymous said...


James is so far beyond help, there's no point in saying anything to him. I just wish Bob would take some time to consider some of the options I and others have posted to the problem.

Otherwise, I get the feeling James won't stick around too long past the presidential election... provided he doesn't attempt to murder Bob at the Escapist Expo. Sadly, every post of his makes that scenario more and more plausible.

Andreas said...

My problem with the whole "Tropes vs. Women" thing is that she's clearly NOT setting out to make a proper documentary series, presenting both the good and bad sides of women's representation in video games, and leaving it up to the viewer to decide. What I see is a bunch of videos simply going through the bads, perhaps raising a little awareness of the problem but not really creating anything interesting or worthwhile. Think of “classic” documentaries; The Thin Blue Line, Dont Look Back [sic], or Hoop Dream. All of these simply present their subject matters and let the viewer think about and discuss the issue.